Old Habits Die Hard

If you drove or walked past First Garden Ipoh years ago, you would have gasped at the sight of giant piles of rubbish around the residential low-cost flats.

Former Perak Menteri Besar, Dato’ Seri DiRaja Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir was quoted as saying that the garbage piles were extraordinary and had called for the setting up of a Rukun Tetangga unit to address the problem.

There were also reports that non-governmental organisations had come forward to help clean the flats but to no avail, as old habits die hard.

Ipoh Echo, keen to know how things were presently, sent its team to recce the area recently. From a distance it looked promising. But, like the saying goes, never judge a book by its cover.

Upon closer inspection, this was what the team found. The flats’ walls were full of graffiti and gang-related signs. The drains were clogged, filled with overgrown grass, rubbish and animal carcasses. Heaps of burnt rubbish littered the compound – a breeding ground for mosquitoes and pests.

A brief chat with one of the residents, who wished to remain anonymous, revealed plenty regarding the general health of the low-cost flats.

“People still throw and burn their rubbish around the flats. Nothing is properly managed, just look around. I’m not even sure when the grass was last cut.”

There had been attempts made to clean up the place, the resident said but all had failed, as there was little or no follow up.

“Some people are already leaving the flats, as they feel it’s no longer a safe place to live. We see many strangers lurking around the area after dark. They like to sit in groups, talk, and laugh loudly. Fights do sometimes occur.”

The resident refused to comment on the gang-related signs on the walls or if there were any suspicious activities around the area. He felt forlorn, saying there was little hope left for this place to improve.

The rubbish heaps may just be a small part of an even bigger problem. Is there more to this than what meets the eye? We hope not.

Paaveetra N. Muthu

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